Hitting the Wall during fasted training

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  • #28863


    So for my weekend long session I’ve this summer put in some long days in a ski hill, doing from 1995m to 2565m of elevation gain. I always do it fasted, and takes me between 6 to 7 hours before I have to stop. It’s all done in nose-breathing or conversational tempo.

    Usually the last “lap” (285m vertical to the top, 1.3 km horisontal), I’m reeeally hitting the wall. Full on heart beating harder than normal, shaking hands, hard to control my legs, hard to think and sometimes trouble speaking correctly due to loss of concentration, cold sweats, talking to Jesus, all that stuff. Basically what I tend to call “zombie death march mode” when I’m mountaineering. When it gets to that point I’m done, and go home to eat.

    Over the summer the point this hits me has gotten further and further delayed. Today I stopped more because I ran out of time than actually hitting the wall (although as always I was very hungry and generally out of it, but only slightly). Today I was expecting to hit the wall at the last 4 laps, but my fatigue just slowly developed rather than suddenly putting me out of service.

    Obviously it is having some effect, but I was wondering if this is a good way to go about things. Considering during the weekend I’m basically just trying to go as far as I can until I physically can’t go any further, and it seems a bit more extreme than others do to just attempt to hit the wall as hard as I can. However, it does seem to be changing something.

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    Anonymous on #28965

    It sounds too extreme to me. Sure, it’s having an effect, but that’s not necessarily coming from the extreme nature. You may get just as good an effect (or better) if you went along fasted until you started to get hungry, ate something, and then finished the workout at a higher-than-otherwise speed (because you’ll have CHO on board).

    carterericksonut on #28993

    I’m not much of a fan of fasted anything. From what I’ve read it might only serve a good purpose for weightloss, but the risks for detriment to your body seem to high for me. I agree with what Scott said. Go fasted to a point, then have a bite.

    Jared Casper on #28994

    @carterericksonut Pushing it to an extreme like is being discussed is one story, but careful fasted training definitely has its benefits outside of weight loss. See Train to Burn Fat and Tips for Fasted Training for example. Just thought I’d throw that in there.

    Anonymous on #29017

    At Uphill Athlete we have seem very positive results of fasted training on hundreds of mountain athletes. It needs to adjusted to gradually and with some caveats.

    1) The most significant of which is slowed recovery from workouts. Deeply depleting glycogen stores during prolonged low intensity sessions will mean that recovery (the restoration of those stores) will take significantly longer. If you do train this way, be sure to get some carbs on board as soon as possible when you finish.

    2) Train on Fat BUT Race on Carbs is our standard recommendation. By “Race” we mean any important event. Say you do some of your early morning runs in a fasted state but on Saturday are planing on an all day alpine climb. Even though most of that day will be spent at a low intensity you should NOT do this fasted if you hope to perform well.

    For those interested in see what a highly skilled and highly trained and very well fat adapted athlete can accomplish partly due to this fat adaptation here are a couple of articles:

    Fasted training, like any training needs to be carefully integrated into a plan to give the best results.


    Nick Woodman on #29056

    Just read the article Scott, thanks for sharing. I’m curious if this is intended to be the long term goal or if this is just a phase of training. I.E. once you become fat adapted, should you still continue to do all workouts fasted or at some point do you go back to a small snack etc. I know for some it won’t be possible since training time is often after work etc.

    Nick Woodman on #29077

    Apologies. I didn’t fully read Scott’s post before I asked my question and he had already covered it. Thanks for this resource!

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